Tick Prevention Tips!

Photo by: PetMD.com

Spring is just around the corner! Unfortunately, as temperatures begin to warm up, the risk of coming into contact with ticks increases. However, the reality is that ticks need to be treated as an issue year round.  Ticks are a common parasite that can cause many medical problems in your pets and can transmit various diseases to your dog; including anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease. Currently, cats are remarkably resistant to tick borne disease because they have an unusual immune system that allows them to fight the infection better than dogs.  Cats that do become infected by a tick may present with vague clinical signs that make them difficult to diagnose. Untreated outdoor cats can also become a vehicle for bringing ticks into your home.  The best way to avoid ticks is to be proactive about preventing them!  Tick prevention involves treating both the animal as well as the animal’s environment.

Basic tick prevention includes:

*Treat your pets with a preventative product all year. There are topical and chewable options as well as collars. Most tick preventatives treat for fleas too!

*Vaccinate your dogs for Lyme disease

*Check your pets daily for ticks; especially around the head, neck, ears, and paws. If you find any ticks, remove them immediately

*Have your dogs tested for tick borne diseases at their yearly wellness exams. Most veterinary practices are able to perform a quick in-house test for at least three of the common tick borne diseases

*Leash-walk dogs when necessary to prevent them from walking through woodsy or overgrown areas

*Reduce the tick habitat in your yard. Keep the grass mowed, the leaves raked, and any other vegetation maintained

Signs of a tick borne disease may not be apparent for 1-3 weeks or longer (sometimes not at all!) If your pet begins showing any signs of decreased appetite, listlessness, fever, lethargy, or acute limping you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss the next steps of treatment!

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